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‘Hollow in The Land’ (review)

Executive Produced by Chris Ferguson,
Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, Daniel Levin, Al Sebag
Produced by Marlaina Mah, Jesse Savath
Written and Directed by Scooter Corkle
Starring Dianna Agron, Rachelle Lefevre,
Shawn Ashmore, Jared Abrahamson

 

In a one mill town with a secret, everyone has something to hide.

Scooter Corkle’s feature debut is a strong narrative about tragedy, love, pain and revenge. Scooter Corkle’s life is a cool story in his own right. For over a decade he worked as a gaffer, lamp operator and best boy, bringing the technical side of storytelling to life.

To persevere for ten years, observing and waiting for the opportunity to make his own films is something to applaud.

Resilience is a skill that is hard to teach.

This is a small town story, written by a small town guy and you can feel the connection between the film maker and the film. He even chose his home town of Castlegar, British Columbia as the shooting location.

The story itself is not unique, but it is very interesting and well executed. Dianna Agron leads a professional cast as Alison, the de facto parent for her brother. Their father is imprisoned for a drunk driving accident and their mother has disappeared. Alison works at the local pulp mill and her brother is an angry and hard to control high school student. When he lands under suspicion for a homicide and disappears, Alison is forced to do her own investigating in a desperate attempt to save her brother.

The plot unfolds quickly.

Corkle should be applauded for his pacing throughout. I was never bored. Nothing in the film seemed gratuitous and there was definite opportunity. Dianna Agron’s character is lesbian and she is in a relationship with Charlene (Rachelle Lefevre). There was an opportunity for a shower sex scene between the two of them that would have been both gratuitous and totally out of place in the film. Corkle either shot it, recognized it didn’t make sense in context and cut it, or didn’t shoot it. Either way, leaving it out was absolutely the right choice and should be taken as an indicator that we are dealing with a strong storyteller.

A lot of the film is shot in the evening or at night and the lighting is tough. Speculatively, Scooter Corkle grew up in “the business” on the electrical side and I think he was trying to play with different lighting techniques and effects because he has a lot of experience with them. This hurts the film in a couple of places because I was more focused on trying to see than really enjoying the view. However this is a minor concern and did not detract from my overall enjoyment.

The cast is strong from top to bottom. One standout is Brent Stait as Len. Len plays a friend of Alison’s from the mill and puts in a strong performance, passionate and earnest. He isn’t on screen much, but each time leaves an impression. Dianna Agron is raw and real throughout conveying frustration, desperation, anguish and anger as her story arc unfolds. The film isn’t shot in the first person, but almost every scene is from her point of view. The performance proves Agron is talented enough to carry a film from beginning to end.

Hollow in The Land is a professionally made and enjoyable film. It has some nice twists and turns, great suspense and leaves you satisfied. If this shows up on Netflix in the indie film section, take the time to watch it. You won’t be disappointed.

4 out of 5 stars

 

Hollow in The Land arrives in theaters and Digital HD on December 8th.

 

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